This blog post was written by Elena Su '21 on July 17, 2020
During this past handful of weeks, we’ve been developing our “downdrafts”––initial, rough sketches of what our final projects will be. Our target was to have a completed first draft by Friday, July 18. Throughout this process, Ben has always emphasized that we should be focusing on quantity rather than quality; later, there will be ample time for editing and revising. We’re tasked with turning off our “perfectionist switches” so that we can produce a large volume of writing in a relatively short span of time. It’s been liberating. I can discard my inhibitions and speak my mind.
We’ve also been having weekly “boosts,” which are one-on-one meetings with another Fellow. These meetings allow us to share our progress and to receive some (much-needed!) praise and validation from our own small writing community. For me, writing has always been equal parts difficult and lovely and solitary. It’s been great to receive support from people who understand the same, intimate struggles as deeply as I do.
Other exciting news: we had our first guest visit this past Wednesday! Grace Talusan is the author of the brilliant and impactful memoir The Body Papers, which won the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Grace imparted some advice for budding writers and shared some details about her experiences with writing, teaching, and publishing. We had all previously read The Body Papers for our Fellowship, and many of us asked her about her memoir writing process during a Q&A session on Wednesday. Grace’s visit was in equal parts poignant and enlightening, and we’re so grateful that she was able to leave some of her wisdom with us.